Independence Day 2021

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On 15th August 1947, at the stroke of midnight, India won its independence against the British Colonial rule in the subcontinent. The day ushered in a new era in the history of the subcontinent with the formation of India, Pakistan and East Pakistan (now, Bangladesh). The day is observed as a national holiday in India characterized by the unfurling of the National Flag followed by the Prime Minister’s speech and march-past display at the historic Red Fort in New Delhi

This year will mark India’s 75th year of Independence. In this article, we will map India’s journey to freedom from the British in 1947 and discuss the trajectories that lie ahead of us as a nation. We will also learn some interesting facts related to India’s independence. 

#independenceday #freedom  #IndependenceDayIndia

Indian Freedom Movement: Milestones Achieved

We have listed down some major events and milestones that were covered through the decades before India finally achieved its independence in August 1947. In the table presented below, the First War of Indian Independence in 1847 will serve as a starting point for our narrative since it is accepted as being the first organized and united effort in overthrowing the burgeoning British establishment in India. It is infamously and incorrectly also referred to as the Sepoy Mutiny of 1847. It was not a sepoy mutiny, it was a planned uprising against the British oppression. The Occidental historians termed it so in a degrading manner. 

Indian Freedom Movement Through the Decades

Provided below is a list of milestones covered during the freedom struggle. It also contains some important events and Acts that directly or indirectly contributed toward the rise of Nationalism in India and the subsequent overthrow of the British Rule in and from the subcontinent. 

Event Date
First War of Indian IndependenceMay 10, 1857
Government of India, Act1858
Lord Canning becomes the 1st Viceroy of India1858
Vernacular Press Act1878
Ilbert Bill Controversy 1883/1884
Formation of the Indian National Congress in BombayDecember 28, 1885
Lord Curzon announced the Partition of Bengal July 1905
The Partition of Bengal was carried out October 1905
Formation of the All- India Muslim League December 30, 1906
Congress Split in the Surat Session1907
Indian Councils Act/ Morley-Minto Reforms1909
Jana-gana-mana sung for the first time at the Calcutta Session of the INC December 27, 1911
Formation of the Ghadar Party in the United States July 15, 1913
Home Rule League Movement 1916
Lucknow Pact between INC and the Muslim LeagueDecember 1916
Rowlatt ActMarch 13, 1919
Jallianwala Bagh MassacreApril 13, 1919
Montague-Chelmsford Reforms1919
Non-Cooperation Movement/Khilafat Movement September 4, 1920
Chauri-Chaura incident February 4, 1922
The Non-Cooperation Movement was recalled due to the Chauri-Chaura incident1922
Simon Commission comes to India1927
‘Simon Go Back’ demonstrationsFebruary 3, 1928
Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw a bomb in the Central Legislative Assembly.1929
Purna Swaraj Declaration1929/January 1930
Civil Disobedience MovementMarch 12, 1930
Dandi March/Salt SatyagrahaMarch 12, 1930 to April 6, 1930
First Round Table Conference in LondonNovember 1930 – January 1931
Gandhi-Irwin PactMarch 5, 1931
Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were hangedMarch 23, 1931
2nd Round Table Conference September 7, 1931 to December 1, 1931
3rd Round Table Conference November 7, 1932 to 24 December 24, 1932
Government of India ActAugust 2, 1935
Formation of the All-India Forward Bloc by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose June 22, 1939
World War II beginsSeptember 1, 1939
Cripps Mission came to IndiaMarch 9, 1942
Quit India Movement was launchedAugust 8, 1942
World War II endsSeptember 2, 1945
Mountbatten Plan/ Indian Independence ActJune 3, 1947
Pakistan declares independence/formation of PakistanAugust 14, 1947
India becomes independent/Indian Independence DayAugust 15, 1947

What is Independence?

Merely winning independence from the British colonial rule is not the end. In fact, it was the beginning of creating the nation of our dreams. While we may have obtained political independence, there are still several hurdles that need to be crossed before we can fully realize the dream our Freedom Fighters had for India as a nation. Let us look at some of the major handicaps we face at present. 

  • Freedom from Hunger and Poverty: 23 crore people live below the poverty line in India. There is an acute and urgent need to eradicate hunger and poverty, their consequential problems such as disease, malnutrition, high mortality rate and crime in India. 
  • Freedom from Hatred: The rising hyper-nationalism and xenophobia are a threat to our internal peace and harmony.  
  • Freedom from Illiteracy: The literacy rate in India is at 74.04% which is still largely behind the world average of 84%. There are approximately 313 million illiterate people in India. 
  • Freedom from Ignorance: Ignorance is more hazardous than illiteracy to a nation’s all-round progress and development. 
  • Freedom from Child Labour: According to a report published by the International Labour Organization, 10.1 million children in India are employed in Child Labour. The situation has become manifold worse with the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Safety for Women: India presently ranks at 131 on the women’s safety index in the world. According to 2019-2020 statistics, there are approximately 88 rape cases in a day in India. 

How to Celebrate Independence Day? 

  • We must teach our children about the rich history of India. It is said that he chose the date for the formal transfer of power to the Indian people and the successive Independence of India. 
  • Particularly, for Independence Day, we must educate them on the Indian Freedom Movement and the role of our Freedom Fighters. 
  • Children must be taught the National Anthem and the National Song. 
  • We must honour and acknowledge the role of our real-life heroes, our soldiers who have put their lives on the line to protect ours.
  • This Independence Day is more special for us seeing as our athletes are making India proud at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The performances we are witnessing today are a result of immense hard work, years of training and discipline. 
  • Most importantly, this Independence Day, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare have issued a notice for the celebration of the day keeping in mind COVID-19 safety protocols. For our safety and that of the people around us, we must follow these measures to the T.  

Independence Day 2021

As India approaches its 75th birthday, we must take a pause to analyze the distance we have covered thus far and chart a blueprint for the progress we want to make in the coming years. India is one of the younger nations in the world not only in terms of its formation but demographic distribution as well. As a nation, we are brimming with talent and potential. 

Although we have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, as a nation, society and economy, India is fighting every day to get back up on its feet again. On this day, let us join together to do our bit to ensure we realize our dream of becoming a superpower very soon. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now set to meet the Indian contingent competing at the Tokyo Olympics (2020) at the Independence Day celebrations at Red Fort.

  • Gold medallist Neeraj Chopra will be among these achievers who made India proud. He is not just India’s first Olympic gold-medallist in 13 years but also the first ‘track and field athlete’ to achieve the feat.
  • Neeraj’s achievement is not just an inspiration to many but an excellent example of how constant efforts, grit and unwavering determination can take you places. It surely is a ray of hope in these difficult times and shows that one should never give up on their dreams, come what may!

Trivia

  • Rabindranath Tagore renounced his knighthood in protest of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. 
  • Louis Mountbatten or Lord Mountbatten was the last Viceroy of India. 
  • The Radcliffe Line was established on August 17, 1947. 
  • Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948. 
  • The Constitution of India was adopted on November 26, 1949. 
  • The Jana Gana Mana was adopted as the National Anthem on January 24, 1950. 
  • India became independent in 1947, but India became a republic on January 26, 1950.
  • The first elections were held in India in 1951/52. 
  • The first president of India was Dr. Rajendra Prasad and the first Prime Minister was Jawaharlal Nehru. 
  • Other countries like North Korea, South Korea, the Republic of Congo, and Liechtenstein also celebrate their Independence Day on August 15 as well although the years differ. 

Further reading: Non-fiction

  • Guha, Ramachandra. Makers of Modern India. 2011. 
  • Lapierre, Dominique and Larry Collins. Freedom at Midnight. 1975
  • Nehru, Jawaharlal. The Discovery of India. 1946. 
  • Chandra, Bipan. India’s struggle for Independence. 1988.
  • Bose, Sugata. His Majesty’s Opponent: Subhas Chandra Bose and India’s Struggles Against Empire. 2011.
  • Malhotra, Aanchal. Remnants of a Separation. 2018
  • Azad, Abul Kalam. India Wins Freedom. 1978. 
  • Tharoor, Shashi. An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India. 2016.

Further reading: Fiction

  • Singh, Khushwant. Train to Pakistan. 1956.
  • Dalrymple, William. The Last Mughal. 2006.
  • Hossain, Attia. Sunlight on a Broken Column. 1961. 
  • Rushdie, Salman. Midnight’s Children. 1981.
  • Siddiqui, Shahid. The Golden Pigeon. 2014. 

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